Disclaimer: Daria and associated characters are owned by MTV. This is fan fiction written for entertainment only. No money or other negotiable currency or goods have been exchanged.
Original characters and plot copyright Richard J. Lobinske. 2004-2005.

Falling Into College Primer
Year 2, Fall

The Parents Are At Rest. On vacation and facing an empty nest when Quinn departs for California, Helen remembers the births of her daughters. Quinn finishes her the last meeting of the honor society with relief to no longer feel like an outsider. She also meets with the old Fashion Club to say goodbye to them. During this, Sandi asks Daria for help to get even with Linda and presents a folded paper, presumably evidence. Daria convinces her to be a better person and destroy the letter, since she had it only to hurt Linda. Sandi will be going to Northern Coastal State, Stacy will attend Lawndale Community College, plus race cars, and Tiffany has started local modeling. Daria tells Michael that she's concerned about her parents, that without children at home, their marriage will either get closer, or fall apart. She also hopes that they can find some of their old idealism, like Jake had started to do after working with Jodie. Helen is also proud that Jake has managed to make his business more socially responsible. They all have a breakfast together of Helen's pancakes before Daria and Michael leave for Boston. Lindy arrives to say goodbye to Quinn before she leaves on a four-day drive to California. Knowing Michael will enjoy seeing her in the dress from the play; Daria puts it on for him, knowing it is another change for her and her growing acceptance of how she looks. Quinn encounters some interesting hotels and eateries on her trip. Jake feels the loss of his daughters when he sees both of their doors open. Sandi stops by the road on her way to college and destroys the letter, remembering that her mother, worried about a possible divorce, had set up Sandi's trust fun so that neither Linda nor Tom would touch it. As the wind blows the scraps, the greeting displays it was a letter to Ms. Li. Just before leaving to return to work, Helen stops and breaks her routine by kissing Jake goodbye and saying I love you. He's surprised but responds in kind. Quinn arrives at Pepperhill and enjoys the immediate attention of several young men. She then meets her roommate, Fran Lawrence. She has very long, dark brown hair and soulful gray eyes, and a face scarred by an auto accident when she was ten. After hanging up from Quinn's call that she arrived okay, Eric enters Helen's office to congratulate her on being made full partner. As he leaves, he says she can take things easier, maybe spend more time with her kids, leaving her softly crying.

Back Aboard. Karen, her arm in a cast from a horse kick, visits the grave of Laura, a high school friend who died of an eating disorder. Karen talks of how that memory sparked her to help Daria with her self-image problems. She also talks to her lost friend about Derek and their growing relationship, and the probability that her brother Terry's wife may be pregnant. Karen drives home in her light truck and her parents, Geoff and Maddie, are introduced. With the truck loaded, including a used sofa for the apartment, Karen leaves for Boston. To avoid the cost of a hotel, she stays with Jake and Helen overnight. She drops off a bag of sweet onions that her mother insisted she take with for the Morgendorffers. Karen also explains how Terry's plan shift the farm to growing certified organic produce has paid off. Karen arrives at the apartment safely and soon Derek and Michael are recruited to help unload her truck and bring up the sofa. After a joke from Derek and Michael falls flat, Jane feels a little left out, relationship-wise. Recovering, she suggests a beach trip before school starts. They all agree and CC also joins them. Soon, Karen and Derek are relaxing in beach chairs, Jane and CC go "trolling" and Daria and Michael go swimming, though Daria has done little swimming since she was 12. By lunch, CC complains that she's had to "throw them all back as underage" and Jane was trying to teach a couple guys to foxtrot on the sand. Daria and Michael walk back after getting drifting down the beach with the current and getting turned around before Daria asked for directions. Karen doesn't allow anyone near the grill as she prepares lunch. After, Jane and CC get involved in a volleyball game, and Jane comes over to get a notepad for phone numbers. Daria and Karen agree that Jane's feeling better. Looking and feeling their best, Daria, Jane and Karen start fall semester the following Monday.

A Part That's Gained. Jane gets an email from Erin. Brian's lost his license for DUI, but she's starting a new job. Using Samantha's lasagna recipe has made Daria's dinners more popular with everyone. Michael's started a new job with the National Park Service. After class, Jane gives her friend Nell a ride to her job at a grocery store before going to work at the children's hospital. A young patient, Stan, collapses, forcing Jane to administer CPR until help arrives. Jane's boss, Bel, gives her the rest of the day off to recover; she goes for a long run to help cope. Grabbing mail on her return home, she notices a letter to Daria from Literature in Action and listens to a message from Bel that Stan is stable and she probably saved his life. Jane takes a long bubble bath and hears Daria's happy response to reading another Melody story sold. Seeing that Jane is still bothered, Daria helps make dinner while Jane explains what happened and finds it difficult to be called a heroine.

Esteeming Lysistrata. Quinn is back in her element with all the new boys at Pepperhill. However, she feels guilty because Fran spends her nights alone, often reading romances. Out of friendship, she finds Fran a date to double with from a fraternity allied with Quinn's sorority. So she looks good, Quinn takes Fran out shopping for new clothes. At Jane's suggestion, she and Daria celebrate the fourth anniversary of their meeting and discuss how Ms. Defoe, now the regular principal, has eliminated Self-Esteem class; though both are disturbed at news Mr. O'Neill and Ms. Barch are married. When they get home from pizza, Erin is waiting for them. She's in Boston hand deliver some papers for work and to look for employment in the area for when she leaves Brian. Fran's date freaks out when he sees her, and along with Quinn's date and another fraternity member, make cruel remarks before leaving. Quinn decides they must pay and calls Daria, interrupting a date with Michael. Daria suggests that Quinn's sorority stop dating the offender's until they apologize. Fran is very nervous about the idea, but agrees. The sorority members shocked by the boys' behavior and they quickly agree. After the fraternity publicly supports the brothers, most of the women in the school join the boycott against the entire fraternity. The broad support encourages Fran. She also gets another date that turns out nice, but not spectacular. The support continues, but some harassment also develops. Fran calls Daria and thanks her, but also says she wants to end things, the support she's felt has more than made up for the hurt and she doesn't feel the need to continue. On Daria's suggestion, Fran runs a letter in the school paper thanking those that supported her and asking them to end the boycott. The boy that was to be her date makes a brief apology, Fran knows that for the most part, nothing had changed, but that maybe a few learned something.

Bump in the Night. BFAC is holding a Halloween Party fundraiser for a student trip to the Met in New York. Jane asks Daria and Karen to come. Daria and Jane bet on Michael's response, if he agrees quickly, Jane picks Daria's costume, if he hesitates, Daria picks Jane's. Michael's new roommate, Todd Baker, tells him that there's a poker game scheduled for their room the same night. When Daria calls, he quickly agrees to get away from Todd and his friends rancid cigars. Quinn calls in a panic; her heavy dating schedule has distracted her from studies, leaving her with a 0.0 GPA at mid-terms. Daria reminds her that failing means moving back to live with Jake and Helen, so Quinn agrees to really get serious for the rest of the semester. Jane gets a costume idea for Daria from her short story, "Depth Takes a Holiday" and recruits CC to help find an orange bustier for a Spirit of Halloween costume. Jane dresses as Emma Peal from the Avengers movie. Not wanting to feel left out, Daria finds a Cupid costume for Michael to wear and sends him a copy of the story so he understands. Karen and Derek go as zombies. The party theme is War of the Worlds, complete with a Martian cylinder coming through the roof of the auditorium. CC shows up in a chainmail bikini and elf ears. Something up in the light grid keeps hitting the drop lights, causing them to sway. When a couple BFAC students go up to investigate and came back down when something moved up there. A while later, a something blows up in the grid and knocks the lights out. While waiting for a couple students to investigate the light failure, Daria hears something come down the grid ladder and rub against her boot. Michael brings over a light stick that had been used to light a punch bowl and the see a black cat at Daria's feet, along with a dead rat. The cat is soon named Bump and immediately adopts Daria.

The Last Piece Falls. Daria gets a subpoena to testify to a grand jury about her involvement in the Ultra Cola situation during her senior year at Lawndale High. That the case involves Angela Li Leonard Lamm and Linda Griffin. When Daria calls her mother, she can't offer legal advice because she'd been retained by Linda. The letter that Sandi had asked Daria about was a copy stolen from Linda's files and replaced by a photocopy. Later, Mrs. Griffin discovers the missing copy and realizes she needs to destroy the original. She tries to get it from Ms. Li's old files, but Ms. Defoe refuses because the files have been sealed as evidence. Suspicious, she contacts an Assistant District Attorney, Mr. Sullivan. Together, they check the files and find a letter from Mrs. Griffin to Ms. Li introducing Mr. Lamm and more that involve a complex kickback scheme between the three. Sullivan gets a search warrant and collects files from Mrs. Griffin. In a defense move, Mrs. Griffin claims her electronic signature was falsely used and retains Helen to sue the television station. After Daria contacts Helen, she knows she has a conflict of interest and must stop representing Mrs. Griffin. Helen contacts Carol Murphey to represent Daria, who is thrilled to see her again. They meet for lunch at Good Time Chinese in Lawndale before meeting with Mr. Sullivan, who is surprised to see her representing Daria. During the interview, Daria says that it was probably Sandi that took the letter. In explaining why she helped Daria, she also tells Sullivan about Upchuck's website. Sullivan says he needs to investigate that too because of how it could affect the case. After, Daria goes to her parent's house and changes into a night shirt to take a nap. When Jake wakes her up, he's unsettled by how feminine his daughter looks in the tighter shirt. Daria helps Jake make dinner and realizes how much she must've embarrassed him and realizes he needs a little something from her, letting him know it's all right to call her Kiddo. After a delay, Daria and Sandi testify to a grand jury, providing important information to the case that forces Mrs. Griffin, on her lawyer's advice, to make a plea bargain. Sullivan gains a search warrant to Upchuck's apartment and finds evidence that he was stalking Daria, including a photo of her having lunch with Ms. Murphey, as well as hundreds of bootlegged adult videos. He was arrested and released on bail. Daria was advised not to return to Lawndale until his case was settled.

For This, We're Thankful. Concerned about what Upchuck might do if she goes to Lawndale, Daria invites Jake and Helen to Boston for Thanksgiving, along with Jane, Karen, Michael and Derek. Quinn accepts an invitation to spend the holiday with Fran's foster parents. Suspecting that Upchuck has had some way to eavesdrop, ADA Sullivan has Jake and Helen pretend that Daria will be in Lawndale with them over the holiday. Michael commissioned a hand-bound diary for Daria's birthday. Karen takes over responsibility for preparing the dinner and shopping for it. When Daria picks up Jake and Helen at the airport, they confirm that the house was left as if occupied and the police had installed surveillance cameras inside. Helen insists on making breakfast while Karen starts dinner prep and is startled when Bump rubs against her leg. She explains to Karen that they would sometimes get large rats at the commune she and Jake lived at in college. Once everyone arrives, Karen recruits them to help with preparations. Fran's foster parents are her uncle David (her mother's younger brother) and Beth and are much younger than Jake and Helen, in their early thirties. Daria explains that back in Highland, her father tried to barbeque a turkey using a co-workers 'home-brew' lighter fluid. The blast sent the turkey two blocks away. Dinner goes without a problem. In the morning, Helen realizes the Daria has become the student her mother had hoped Helen would be and thanks Daria for becoming someone Helen doesn't have to worry as much about. When they get home, Jake and Helen find a single rose left on Daria's bed and they call the police. When pulled over, Upchuck's bribe fails and he's arrested. He had packed and had a plane ticket to Boston when caught. Because he attempted to leave the county, his previous bail was forfeited and his father refused to post a second, higher bail.

A Few Important Details. On his way to Daria's to celebrate the one-year anniversary of their first date, Michael recalls how he started to love her. When things start to go a little too far after, Daria stops them. However, they agree to go farther, when it can be a special occasion. Daria learns that Karen will be gone the next weekend on a skiing trip with Derek and Jane will be in New York with the BFAC trip to the Met. She tells Michael that the apartment will be free and they decide on a fancy, romantic night out, while being prepared to change their minds. Daria briefly discusses the decision with her old therapist, Carolyn, who tells her to do what she does best, be honest with herself, and with Karen. Saturday morning, Daria reads from Mrs. Blaine's diary and calls Helen about her decision. That evening, Daria dresses in her formal gown and Michael in a suit when they go out to see a professional performance of The Nutcracker and he sings to her on the landing when they get back. In the morning, they both feel a new closeness to each other. When Karen and Jane return late Saturday, Jane is startled when she realizes that of the three, she's the last.

Christmas Melody. Daria and Michael meet Quinn at the airport before Michael departs for Detroit for Christmas. It takes Daria a moment to recognize Quinn with her hair cut short. Quinn's final GPA for the semester was 1.9 and she's not looking forward to Helen finding out she's on academic probation. Daria receives the printed copy of her third published Melody Powers story. Daria, Jane, Quinn and Bump drive to Lawndale and stop to visit Trent and Lindy. Vincent is actually home and Lindy takes the time to announce her engagement to Trent. Lindy asks Quinn to be Maid of Honor, plus Daria and Jane as bridesmaids. Daria is on the phone with Karen when Helen finds out about Quinn's grades. Daria goes downstairs and reminds Jake of how well he did his first semester at college and distracts Helen with how Quinn organized the boycott to help Fran. Quinn joins up with Stacy and Tiffany during the holidays, but Sandi isn't in town after her parents disowned her following her testimony. Daria takes a chance and prepares another manuscript for Musings Magazine. During the week, Daria does some searching ("research for Melody Powers stories") and shows Quinn some specialty makeup and techniques for dealing with scarring. Daria, Jane and Lindy to the Zon on New Year's Eve to watch Mystik Spiral play. Mack is there and tells Daria and Jane that he and Jodie broke up after drifting apart during the fall. Daria is troubled by their misfortune. After Daria drops Jane of at Casa Lane, Mack shows up to see Jane. The next day, Daria calls Jodie and learns Jodie is preparing to transfer to Crestmore her junior year, as she promised her father. Because they both have to work, they Daria and Jane head back to Boston, though Jane is tired and sleeps the entire trip. Quinn tries the new makeup on Fran and both are very happy with the results, and Quinn starts to get an idea of what she wants to do with her life.